Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fucking Cats: An Update

Despite the removal of his balls, Havuç is still pretty humpy with Spider. He's even started trying to nail her in the right place, because before, he kept trying to fuck her head and tummy. So it was probably good timing on the neutering thing.

Haydi Coşkun, at least Nuri buys them a gazoz first...

Today, I think Spider used up half a life. She was chasing a wasp through the house, which demonstrates questionable judgment in any case, and she managed to jump up on the stovetop just as I was turning it on. Well done, dummy. The kitchen still reeks of burnt cat hair, but she's fine.

A few weeks ago, I put and ad for Havuç up on Craigslist. I've since decided I like Spider and Havuç is the problematic one. Here are the responses I've gotten so far:

The first is the sort of response one would expect. I answered his questions, but haven't heard back. I also asked for links to these communities, since I once heard people troll pet classifieds for animals to use in experiments...


I have access to some communities which find owners for pets and I would like to help.
If interested, could you provide more details about your cat?


Then they just got funny.

Did you preassume cats IQ would be 150? You can adopt an Einstein and feed it home! I mean its a general fact; known by everyone; cat’s IQ is rarely average.Otherwise ıt would be you to be fed by the cat!!!!

My answer:

Perhaps his IQ is 150 and it's just his evil plan to make me crazy.

So, do you want a cat? He isn't bright, but he will love you till the day he dies. Kind of like the ideal spouse :)

Another one. I'm wondering if people get how Craigslist is supposed to work?

Deli misin:D kiyamam ona

No matter. I love how Turks take a website and turn it to suit what they want from the Internet. This next fellow apparently wants to learn from Craigslist.

Neden ona whore dedin? 

So I politely explained English terms like "attention whore" and "praise whore" and "worksheet whore." Having learned something, he decided the Craigslist Pets section might also be used for dating.

bunu gerçekten hiç duymamıştım, kusuruma bakma olur mu :) havuç kadar sahibi de çok tatlı bence..
So I asked him if he wants a cat.
Never a dull moment. I fucking love the Internet.

And Havuç loves the sink.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Right Now: A Fight With The Ex

Here's where I am right now in my who-gives-fuck emotional shitworld:

1) Had a fight with the ex over the phone. More on that later. I'm fairly certain it was 100% not my fault, except maybe for some of it.

2) Weak as shit about some things. Just don't fucking ask, okay? Because it's so completely wrong in so many ways, but about some things I have the emotional intelligence of a 12 year old. Just ask my parents.

3) A bit drunk. Assuming I can type acceptably well through the whole rest of this post means I'm not nearly drunk enough. Just fuck me already with your syphilitic dick, Charles Bukowski. Even though I'm fairly certain you didn't die of syphilis. It just sounds good, saying syphilitic dick like that.

4) Dumb as fuck. Because you know what? I'm gonna go ahead and post this shit on Facebook like there's no tomorrow. Please refer to #3. Students read this crap. The ones who bother to read English, that is. Those are the one ones I love the most. And also some other ones, for various reasons which they'll never know. I think I said once before how love is the only thing that gets us through the day sometimes. Also the occasional V-neck or sundress or skinny jeans. What the fuck do I care? Mind you though, my students, the hot pants are totally not working for me even though I get it in a theoretical sense.

5) Worried sick my kid has some life-threatening illness that may or may not be All My Fault. More on that later, too.

6) Practical. Because you know what I'm gonna do right now? Pour another delicious drink and fetch the laptop charger. It's after 1am and I've just locked myself into some seriously problematic writing here.

Are we lit?
** Update** Right, I'm back. And you know what I just discovered? Fucking fuck-ass cats chewed through one of the cords to the computer speakers. You know what I did instead of wringing their fucking necks? I thought, well it's not the first time they've done this. I've gotten pretty good at MacGuyvering cords back together.

First world crisis.

You know what else? I have ample gin to see me through this post, but not enough tonic. It's a First World Crisis here, people. Never fucking ask me the sort of almost-trouble the tonic issue has gotten me into before. Thank goodness for all the tobacco I have around here. And please, forgive my mom and dad. They rightfully harp on at me for the smoking thing, only obliquely refer to the booze thing, and never mention the Other Fucking thing (refer to #2), unless it's dire. Or apparently so.

Dear Mom and Dad,
Don't worry about this one. Seriously.

So. The fight. Which is the reason I'm all fuck-you pissed off in the first place.

The House of Ex looks like this in my heart.
Today I braved a call to the The House Of Ex to try to talk to my kid. You know what? I haven't talked to my kid properly in like 2 weeks. More on that later.

I dealt with the MIL, because that's what I do. I'm a champ at empty conversation in Turkish. I managed to call at a good time, a quiet time, walking on campus with some co-workers as we moved from the campus bar to the minibus. I was tipsy enough to be able to enjoy the call, yet sober enough to manage it. For once, when I gritted my teeth to make this call, the boy was at home with them. Not that it matters so much.

Because every time I call the House of Ex to talk to my kid, he doesn't want to talk to me. The Ex and the MIL think this is hilarious. The Ex threatens the kid with stuff he never knew he could have if he doesn't talk to me, as though talking to me were some sort of punishment. The MIL encourages shit behavior by laughing at everything the kid does, even when it clearly sucks.

It always is.
As for the 2 weeks thing, here's how that went down. A few weeks ago, FIL needed some treatment on his back, which just wasn't getting any better. I feel for that, you can be sure. But they couldn't take the boy that week. It's not like the Ex looks after the boy, as I'm sure you've all worked out by now. I have a job and shit and look after the boy on my own. The Ex has had a job for a few months, not that it matters because his mama does all the looking-after. She did it even when the Ex wasn't working for a year, just drunk all the time and sleeping or playing computer games most the day because the poor dear was Depressed after What I Did (kicking his loser ass out of the house before he broke my jaw or whatever).

Anyway, they were all missing the boy and the boy was missing them, as is to be expected. So it was decided (note the use of passive here, as though I'm absolving myself of this, which I'm not) that the boy should "stay with his dad" for the 2 weeks preceding our trip home to the US. Note the use of quotes on "stay with his dad." Yeah. Anyway, according to the MIL his "dad" misses him very much, and how is his "dad" to survive being without the boy for a whole month? It's very "sad" for his "dad."

He's that guy you see when it suits his fragile constitution.
The ridiculous use of quotations is meant to be ironic. Because when I left the boy with his "dad," you know what his dad did? He had just woken up at 1pm, grunted at me as he does, and promptly left the house to go hang out with his tea dickheads or whatever. LE calmly explained to me that this was because it was too hot for his dad to hang out with him. His dad would hang out with him later, when it was somehow more comfortable or convenient. Then he (LE) started being a jerk to me, and MIL laughed at it all, so I just left because who the fuck needs that shit?

I told LE I love him even when he's being an asshole and making me sad. Probably that was a fucked up thing to say in like 10 different ways but I don't suppose it serves the kid to lie to him either.

And that was 2 weeks ago. Every time I've tried to talk to the kid since then (twice they've cajoled him onto the phone-for-his-mama punishment), he's either said he doesn't have time to talk to me (ha ha ha ha ha ha in the background) or he's just hung up the phone. Finally, today, I managed to get a few sentences out of him, but they were all halting and stammered because he hasn't used English in a couple of weeks. He also sounded like he felt like he was doing something wrong for talking to me, but maybe I'm just reading to much into it.

Because before I managed to talk to the boy tonight, his dad was hollering at me. Quite why, I'm not sure, but I offer you some back-story.

It must have been this fly.
A few weeks ago, LE was playing on the street when something bit him on the neck. Unlike the other time he was crying on the street, this time I could tell it was for real and I went out in the braless boobie nipple shirt and everything, though I put on some flip-flops to avoid that other particular awkwardness. The neighbors all thought it was a bee sting but I could see it wasn't. There was no stinger and whatever it was that bit him took a wee chunk out, like a horsefly or something. LE and I iced it, and put some magic medicine on it (it's lavender and calendula, if you want to know the magic), and the next day it was gone. No swelling, no itching, no pain.

But then, either it's Lo and Behold or it's WTF, the fucker swelled up and started itching the boy's neck again a few days ago. So naturally, LE needed a trip to the doctor. In fact, I was all behind the trip to the doctor, because what the hell kind of bug could have bitten him that caused a reaction almost 3 weeks after the fact? Mostly I was hoping the doctor, or shall I say "doctor," would tell them (us) there was nothing to worry about.

Bwa-ha-ha! Stranger! You're a fucking idiot! Did you forget which doctor this is? Sorry, I mean "doctor?" Apparently the Ex, in all his wisdom and unparalleled "parentin'" had noticed a  wee swelling in the back of the boy's neck. On the lymph nodes. So the doctor did an ultrasound on that. Only the doctor wasn't qualified to interpret the results. So BE read the results to me in Turkish over the phone. Really fast. Without moving his lips very much. With my friends raising their eyebrows at me kindly in an "Everything ok?" kind of way.

So from what I could understand from the results in Turkish, the boy either has cancer and is going to die, or he's fine and it's nothing to worry about. I suggested BE go to another doctor with the ultrasound results and check it out.

Look, it's possible I didn't word it right. Maybe I said, "How about going to another doctor to make sure? I don't think we're qualified to work this out." Or maybe I said, "Can you take him to another doctor tomorrow or Saturday?" or maybe I said, "Get a second opinion."

No matter. BE started yelling at me. And cursing and saying a whole bunch of other shit. I didn't know why and asked him why. He told me to take him to a doctor in America and I told him there are just as good of doctors here, covered by insurance. Then he started yelling incoherently and I was asking him to stop yelling at me and my friends were looking at me, mouthing "Are you okay?"

Brave Face is crumbling.
Of course I'm okay. I'm always okay. My Brave Face is like nothing you would believe. And they didn't really believe it either but they pretended they did.

Then the Ex hung up on me, because that's what he does. So I called back and LE answered. And he hung up on me. So I called back like 3 more times with the same result. The last time, MIL answered and said, "LE doesn't want to talk to you." I said "I understand." I said it all wicked sarcastic but goodness knows if she can get such things.

By the time we got back into town, I had decided I should find out why the Ex got so mad at me. Naturally, deep down I wanted to have it out with him. I rehearsed the conversation all the way down the hill, but naturally it went all wrong. The Ex claimed I'd "ordered" him to take the boy to another doctor, like who am I to do such a thing and what kind of fucking mother am I? Rather than dicker with denials about ordering anyone to do anything, I popped off about how they never let me talk to my kid, how they all enjoy it so fucking much when he doesn't want to talk to me. In his mind there's goodness knows what, but in my mind there's the fact I haven't talked to my kid in 2 weeks, worsened now by the possibility he has lymphatic cancer or some shit.

I pointed out how I have my phone set up so the kid can call his dad whenever he wants. All he has to do is push the green phone button, and the star for favorites, and there's his dad's number. His dad is far from my favorite, obviously, but the boy is pre-literate and that was the best I could do. I make sure he talks to his dad every one or two days. Not just because I'm I righteous asshole, but also because it seems to me that's how it should be.

I miss you, little man.
It's a running theme in the garbage disposal of my head: 2 weeks without the little boy who goes everywhere with me. Whose little hand is always in mine. Whose little furnace body is squirming against me on the minibus and into me in bed at night. Who I discuss superheroes with every fucking 5 minutes. Who has started telling me he likes what I'm wearing or that I made a good dinner, sometimes. Who I can't stop smelling. Who I think about and worry about incessantly even when I believe I'm doing other more worthwhile, grown-up things. And all I get is a precious few seconds of his squeaky little voice on the phone for the last 2 weeks, telling me he doesn't want to talk to me and his fuckass babaanne laughing in the background, trying to take the phone from him to tell me in her fake-sad gleeful voice that he doesn't want to talk to me.

Having a kid is exactly like being crazy in love with someone fickle, only without the sex part. His babaanne is like the bitchy girlfriend I want to punch in the neck for taking him from me. Only rarely do I wonder why it has to be this way, why it has to be her or me. Did I make it this way? Really?

In marriage, as far as I can tell, the Fight is always a river tumbling under the surface. But apparently this is true post-marriage, too. It's just that while I was talking to the Ex, he started riding the Fight Rapids all on his own, about how I'm not good enough, and I had no idea what the hell was going on. The Ex hung up on me again.

Then I called back and he was all "Hang on," and there were some pocket-call noises and I assumed LE was at least holding the phone. Then I heard my Ex saying "Allo, allo," and I answered him in English and he hung up again.

Only it wasn't the Ex making strange sounds on the phone. I called back and he was all, "My dad was trying to talk to you and who the fuck is the man you're with?" I couldn't be bothered with the Jealousy Fight, a major Tributary of the Bad Wife and Mother Fight, which are all just offshoots of the You're Foreign and You Had More Enjoyable Sex With Other Men Before Me Fight, which are nothing compared to the Amazonian You're Tougher Than Me So You Don't Love Me Fight, so I just told him to put his dad on.

His dad is good. His dad is reasonable. But his dad was upset as hell, because the Ex had  told him I said they enjoy it so fucking much that LE doesn't want to talk to me.

Of course, when I said this, I was referring to the Ex and the MIL. FIL generally stays out of their petty teenaged bullshit. But of course he took such a thing to heart. He's a nice man.

Not wanting to tell him his son was a dick and his wife is a cunt who treats me like shit when no one is looking, I told him instead that his son became irrationally angry for no reason and had misunderstood and that I had said no such thing, of course a 5 year old child is entitled to be fickle. He told me it made him so sad to hear I believed they were all against me in some way. And of course that made me feel bad because he's the last guy in the equation I want to feel sad. Generally, though, he's the first one in that fucked up house to have the sense to be sad and feel guilty about the things his son and wife do to upset me.

Turkish bugs are scarier than normal ones.
And then he proceeded to bawl me out that I hadn't taken the boy to the doctor immediately after getting bitten on the neck by a fly. Didn't I know that this is Turkey and it's really hot right now and bugs and animals and trees and everything are all super-dangerous? I ventured that since the bite hadn't shown any signs of being swollen or itchy or hurty for two days, it was safe to assume it was okay. But he countered that this is Turkey and it's really hot right now and I don't know anything. Then he told me they'd been planning all along to take LE and the ultrasound results to a real doctor long before I'd "ordered" the Ex to do such a thing.

Apparently there was some crazy going on the crazy House of Ex that was causing the problem. Certain people in that house handle their Big Feelings with the deftness of wolverines.

Something's not right in that house.
So even though FIL was bawling me out, I didn't want him to be sad anymore because he's the guy who's been in my corner all along. I told him he was right and that if a fly ever bites my kid in the neck again, I'll be sure and take him to the doctor.

And then I reassured him that I didn't think they were all against me. I also thanked him for talking to me, and that I felt better after talking to him

He was still upset and told me that the Ex and I have to keep the peace for the boy's sake. I refrained from reminding him that his son is the shitdick who started this in the first place, and instead told him that it was good to hear his voice and that everything he was saying made me feel better and less worried.

Which was true. Believe me. Nonetheless, I couldn't help thinking that, Turkish-wise, I was handling the fuck out of this particular situation. On the phone, no less.

So then I continued the night out with my friends. There's was no amount of rakı that could make all this shit in my head okay, so I've just had to continue drinking at home by myself.

I've worked 2 hours on this post. I'll have to check tomorrow if it makes sense. As for the original list at the beginning, I am now:

1) Mad as hell at everyone, and embarrassingly weepy. I even smacked the wall and I keep crying a lot. I cried on the way home from the restaurant, and then again in the cold shower in a way that if I were Ben Stiller it would have been hella funny. I'm not even sure which of the things in my shitworld (listed below) is making me cry. The last time I cried about anything was when my cousin died.
2) Feeling weak because of some other shit I don't want to talk about.
3) Considerably more drunk, which still seems like a fucking good idea.
4) Dumb as fuck. Because you know what? I'm gonna give this a once-over tomorrow and still post the fucker on Facebook because I just really want to be the sort of person who does shit like that.
5) Worried sick. How could I not be? And for fuck's sake please don't assume this list is in order of importance because it's not.
6) Practical. Because I really need to believe that right now.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stuck In My Head

Just don't fucking ask, okay? I'm busy listening to my head.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Cows here have horns.

I. Today I saw a couple of young cows gently bashing each other's horns on the grassy patch outside the Atatürk Oto Sanayi metro station. It's not the first time I've seen cattle in that spot, but it's the first time I've seen them argue. I wanted to take a movie but then another guy started taking a movie and I felt unoriginal and foreign (of course it's different when a yabancı starts taking a movie, right?), plus it's kind of a pain in the ass to load movies onto the blog.

I still call them movies. Heh.

Normal for me, really.
Still, it seems like an odd place for cattle. And I grew up in Reno which had some interestingly archaic grazing laws at the time-- maybe they still do-- where horses and sheep and cattle were pretty much allowed to hang out on any brushy patch. Cattle under flyways are strangely normal for me. It's just that you have to take stairs or an elevator up or down to the Oto Sanayi metro station grassy patch, which is really no larger than 10 by 14 feet. How the hell did they get the cattle there? Can you make a small herd use stairs?

II. Today at lunch, my co-worker's phone rang with a ringtone that begged for dancing and everyone at the table started chair-dancing between bites in our not-at-all-right yabancı dancing to Turkish music way, without even checking if everyone else was doing that. My co-worker waited awhile to answer the phone, but then apologized that it was his fiancee. Everyone just kept eating and making fun of students like it had never happened. And maybe it didn't. Maybe I just wanted to be in on something.

III. The other day, not today actually, I realized that those noticeably pretty pigeons near my house, the ones that flap more loudly than the others, in fact belong to a guy down in the minibus yard our balcony overlooks. The minibus yard is an ethnographic study all its own, a place where men go to be men and scratch themselves extravagantly. It's a no-girls-allowed sort of place. On the road, the Beşiktaş guys and Sarıyer guys are sometimes the best of friends, cheerfully bipping their horns at each other or stopping short in the middle of the road when they pass in opposite directions to have a chat or make change.

But sometimes they're the direst of enemies, blaring their horns at each other and getting into road rage races where you're kind of rooting for your guy and afraid to ask him to drop you off somewhere because he stopped picking up passengers like 10 minutes ago, gunning his engine in anger and making his bus go surprisingly fast with all those people in it, wishing the other passengers would stop bitching at him and making him madder. I'm remembering the Beylikdüzü driver fights, which involved the muavvin and tire irons and sudden stops in the middle of a 4-lane freeway.

I've never seen them fight in the yard, though. In the yard, it's all happy shouting and amazing jostling of what appear to be unmaneuverable vehicles into narrow parking places, and guys rushing for a pee in a toilet with an entrance that's so black smudged all around from top to bottom with handprints I can see the filth from here. And in there amongst all the body hair, and greasy mysterious engine parts large and small, and power washers, and hydraulic lifts, and water bottles constantly popping under backwards rolling wheels, there is a thin fellow in an oily once-pinkish shirt with no hem that rides up his belly. He has a tiny dovecote on wheels and the most perfect white gray pigeons whose wings clap in joy when he rolls them out and sets them free. He claps his cupped hands together at them, and waves a plastic bag on a long stick at them, to what end I don't know. Sometimes a small twisted-up man in a wheelchair comes out to watch. Other drivers stop their arm waving and yelling to look up at the doves, and even the guys who drive in with custom Audis and BMWs from goodness-knows-where stop fooling with the sound systems to have a look.

It's like grace. Or something. How can such things be?

So glad I'm not you.
IV. Today I saw a young girl about 11, dancing to no music and whipping her waist-long sunstreaked hair in the wind. The women with her, maybe her mother and aunt, were both fully covered. I was glad I wasn't them.

But I was still sad for that girl. I don't care how long I've been here. How would you feel if you were an 11-year-old girl whipping your hair in the wind and the covered women watching you were your future?

On Friday is the first day of Ramazan. I'm looking forward to watching my neighbors break their fasts, and that cozy quiet comfort that isn't mine.

Okay, not this bad but sorta.
V. Today on the minibus it was so crowded the door was open like we were on a minibus in India, except without the livestock and the folks on the roof. Armpits were in my face and my armpits were in others' faces because I'm tall compared to most people here. Elbows were everywhere. A guy's ass was rubbing mine and he didn't politely try to stop that from happening. Nor did I and he wasn't gross or anything. It's a fucking mad world. And I'm not even that desperate, believe me. Also that's not even close to the most erotic anonymous crowded public transport experience I've had here. As long as things don't get handy, I don't give a shit.

Sometimes there's nothing you can do but suck up all the pleasure and beauty there is to be had in the world, in the most miserable of situations, no matter where you can find it.

Cheesy ending.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Expat Interview on Quest Turkey: I'm The Guest, My Friends

Quest Turkey

I love it when people want me to guest post on their websites, especially when it's a proper website, with a design and stuff. My only regret with this one is that it took me so long to get around to Lauren's invitation to write the post.

Anyway, here it is:

Just read it, okay?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sorry, Havuç

Just recently I've tried to broaden LE's whole horizons of Tom & Jerry and watching guys play superhero video games on You Tube. With Ren and Stimpy. It freaks him out a little but he likes it. Sort of. He might just be humoring me, but he hardly ever does that anymore.

In light of this, it's been a bad day for Havuç today. He's pretty much finished pissing himself, but his butt keeps tipping over and Spider keeps hissing at him. You'd think she'd be glad he's stopped trying to rape her head and other completely wrong rape places.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh, No. They Didn't!

Oh, yes. They totally fucking did.

Lord of the Flies: Neighborhood Drama

Around the time we moved, LE decided he wanted to go outside and play in the street with the other kids. I told him he could when he was a little bit older, mostly because I'd seen all the kids on the street were a couple of years older, and I don't really know at what age you're supposed to start letting your kids go all free-range.

All day when the movers were here, he was bugging me to go outside. Seriously, few people can repeat the same things over and over as effectively as a 5-year-old, except perhaps Rain Man and most dogs. And then I got busy with doing something, and noticed that not only was one of the cats gone, the kid was gone too.

Turned out the cat had gotten onto the roof somehow, and the kid had simply let himself outside to play. It was kind of my first guess where he'd gone, so I didn't actually get that worried. I was so relieved not having to listen to him ask me over and over and over and over and over and over if he could go and play, and why why why why why why why why why why couldn't he go outside to play, I just went with it and left him out there.

I found the cat, too. Obviously. Or you would have heard about that in my ongoing tales of minor mishaps.

Things looked fine from up on the new balcony that overlooks the street now. Besides that, about 10 other mothers were watching their kids fiercely from their own balconies. There are a lot of women in my neighborhood who seem to do very little on hot summer days than sit around on their balconies. It must be nice but I'm glad I'm not them.

I figured all would be well. Azeri Teyze shouted down to LE, "Where's your mother?" and I said, "I'm here! He escaped." She looked up at me and said, "He's a very little boy!" and I said, "I know!" LE looked up and waved and said, "Hi, Mama!" and I said, "You scared the shit out me, not telling me where you were going," and he said, "Sorry, Mama," and ran off after his Calliou ball he'd thoughtfully brought down with him, clearly not in the mood for the lecture I was all ready to call down to him. Whatever. I had a lot to do. Plus he still says his "r"s kind of like "w"s and it kills me, partly because he's starting to say his "r"s right.

Ours is a dead-end street, by the way. I'm not as spectacularly bad of a mom as I would like to be. Every night after school LE goes to play with the kids in the street, and comes home ravenous and streaked with filth. I think it's cool. It seems super-healthy and cheerful somehow.

I also like sneaking out to watch what he does with the other kids. For the most part, they're really nice. They peripherally include him in their games, making him be the guy who has run off and fetch the stray ball, and sometimes they let him have a go at whatever they're doing. LE is too little to realize it sucks to be the guy who has to go fetch the balls that roll away.

Invariably, they play football. I despair somewhat at their lack of imagination, though they do a bit of role-playing, with taking dives and having fake fights and pretending to be their favorite players. They argue constantly.

Male posturing. International and inter-species.
LE holds his own. It's hilarious and sad and adorable. He postures and pretends to be a bully, gesturing like a minibus driver and tossing around light swear words like "lan," which the older boys think is cute and pinch his cheeks, and the younger ones hold him to it and bully him back. There's one kid who's a little mean, that does the, "Aren't you cute?" cheek-slapping a little too hard, or postures back at him, but when LE is taken aback the older kids step in and rub his head and distract him with something before he starts crying. Big kids here are naturally good with little kids like that. LE likes that mean kid the best.

Sometimes on the weekends the other kids LE's age come out to play. They cling to whatever adult brings them out, and don't even know how to kick the ball properly. LE still tries to include them, though, and they sometimes all go off together to play something besides football. Usually it involves running in circles around the house next door. LE never knows if they're chasing someone or running away from someone, or even which one they're chasing or running away from, but he doesn't give a shit.

Fuck Calliou.
LE always takes his Calliou ball out to play, and often his winter gloves when he wants to be the goalie. He doesn't like the regular ball the big kids use, because it hurts when it hits him in the face. All the kids humor him and use the Calliou ball.

Poor Piggy.

The slightly younger kids, probably the ones who had to be Piggy before LE came along, have allowed LE into their splinter group. They're probably just happy there's someone else to be Piggy. One of them is a chunky kid about 7 who can't keep up with the others and often has a tube of Chococrem or Balparmak, which he's happy to share. The other is graceful and coordinated and seems to be on the verge of getting in with the 9-11 year old bunch.

Madness, of the complete and utter variety.
They spend a lot of time trying to figure out LE's nationality. They've seen him with me, which must mean he's foreign. Except he speaks Turkish. It blows their minds. Yesterday, they all saw when LE's grandparents dropped him off, that they all were Turkish. They asked him his surname and declared him Turkish. LE explained that he's also American. Then he shouted up for me to give him a glass of water. "Come upstairs," I told him. "Just use the basket!" he replied. "What basket?" I answered. The other kids' mothers lower baskets of food and water and toys on demand.

Today as we came home from school, the kids were playing a different game, with Nerf guns. LE was hesitant to join, but he also wanted me to go away. Clearly I have become wicked uncool. I kissed his cheek anyway because he still lets me, and went upstairs. By the time I got to the balcony he seemed to have worked things out. He shouted up to me that he wanted his Iron Man wristband, and as he left the group to come upstairs and get it, he told the other kids he had a big surprise for them. A few times. They ignored him but he didn't care.

This whole Lord of the Flies street thing is deeply pleasing and deeply devastating at the same time.

When I went out to get LE for dinner, he was nowhere to be seen. So I went to turn off the stove and drain the ravioli. When I went back out, LE was standing behind a car weeping bitterly. It wasn't a hurt crying (I'm forever shocked I can recognize what kind of crying it is), and I called to him to come up, but he refused. An older boy was trying to gentle him out of crying. The LE decided to come in. I opened the apartment door for him, but before he could come up, I heard a gaggle of women gather downstairs around him.


Um, not on my street.
So I put on the sort of top one might wear outside (the it's-1,000-degrees-in-the-house-braless-tank wasn't gonna cut it), and went down to make a show of being an overprotective mom. Three women had LE all gathered up trying to comfort him, while another two were off bawling out the other kids and trying to find out what they had done. A third bustled out with some terlik for me because I wasn't wearing shoes. LE's crying had reached the point of hiccuping and he was hard to understand, but it turned out all that had happened was that the kids had told him he couldn't play whatever Nerf thing they were up to.

Callous as it might be, I found them completely justified in this, as usually they alter their games to include LE. He's kind of like an annoying little brother for them, and I think they're pretty cool about it. As much as I dislike the whole Lord of the Flies thing he's suddenly cast himself into, that's life and it's only going to get worse, and more unfair, and meaner and bloodier. At least he still wants to wrap his skinny, smelly little arms around me.

The neighborhood moms, though, were all crushed that he was crying. Not that I blame them. LE when he is crying is gorgeous and heartbreaking, with the trembling pout and fat tears and dirt-streaked suntanned cheeks. There was a chorus of exclamation to this effect from everyone around us and from several balconies every time he buried his perfect wet snotty face in my neck.

Fuck yeah!
Once home, he forgot about it in minutes because Tom and Jerry is always on YouTube. He even let me show him Ren and Stimpy. I explained to him that sometimes things are going to happen like that with other kids because he's still little, and that it'll make him feel like crying but he can't always cry about stuff like that. He hiccuped that it was bullshit they did that. He also reminded me to return the terlik to the neighbor after he went to sleep. Then he passed out to Shel Silverstien after having seconds on ravioli and a scrubby bath.

Later on, I found a Nerf bullet on the balcony and threw it down to the kids in the street. One of the mothers leaned out asked if she could come up, and she did, bearing a plate of homemade pastries. She apologized her kid had done that, and I told her I think her kid is great for letting LE play with them.

And thus, order was restored to the street. I hope. Goodness knows I'm always doing or saying something wrong around here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sorry, Bee

Dear Bee Who Stung My Toe Today,

There you were in the grass just doing what bees do.

And then you got into my sandal and stung the fuck out of my toe. I don't know how you managed it. You must have hit a vein or something because it hurt like the dickens and half my foot looks bruised now.

It's not like I haven't been stung by bees before. I was once the object of a pissed-off, undersmoked hive and like five of your brethren got me all at once and all it did was get me a little bit high for the rest of the day.

I know your kind have been dying off and disappearing mysteriously from this world. And I can tell from the goo hanging off the end of your stinger that you didn't make it through the toe-attack. You're probably dead now.

And I'm so, so sorry you thought I was the enemy and that you died trying to kill me. I wish we could have talked it over first.

Deepest regrets,